unconscious typewriter

fragmented prose ramblings from imagined narrations of consciousness

Struggling generation

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about economics. The way Canadian society works financially is not what people of the emerging generation expected; when we were kids, we were led to believe that if we work hard, do well in school, and follow our dreams we will lead a happy, successful life.

I don’t know what I expected. A job somehow finding me and greeting me with warm welcome and a large paycheque. I did well in school after all, and I’m more educated than about 95% of Canadians. Why don’t I have lots of money and a stable job I like?

I don’t really understand economics much, though my understanding is growing. Money, as far as I’m concerned, is an imaginary representation of “status” that we exchange for things we need (food, shelter) and things we don’t (vacations, big houses). Yet it seems to dictate so much of our lives.

I had pretty specific career aspirations from a young age, and thinking that I outperformed nearly everyone in my classes, I would be able to reach these aspirations with ease. Not only that, but I worked, volunteered, and did a myriad of extra-curriculars. I have a great resume. Why have I failed?

I’m ignoring the obvious qualification that failure is only in your mind, reality is what you embrace, you can manipulate your mind and mood to be happy, it’s all a state of mind, etc. I’m trying to be more quantitative here.

Either we were lied to or people did not fully realize the impact of our economic shift. Old people are somehow still taking up a large percentage of work, and new jobs aren’t opening up to fill all of the vacant positions. Professional work, in many areas, is shrinking, yet people are becoming more educated, and in order to become more educated, are spending more and more money with the expectations that they will be able to pay off their debts quickly after find the elusive first professional job.

There is a catch-22 to this whole thing: the vast majority of employers want you to have x amount of experience, but in order to get this experience, you need someone to give you a job. Most jobs are found through connections, networking, etc. What about shy people? People who move around a lot? People without connections in high places?

Class structure is so much more than education. It’s opportunity, and education is a part of that, but in general, people who are high class know other people who are high class and vice versa. That’s why it’s so hard to rise.

Intelligent young adults, fully capable to be excellent teachers, psychologists, lawyers, etc are struggling in a losing battle. Our feet are stuck and our bodies writhe. We hope that things will get better, and they may, but at some point we are going to be too old to be attractive employees and the next generation will slide into these jobs.

We can be angry, but that won’t solve anything. We need to react. We need to modify our expectations, and instead of hopelessly hoping for our first dream job, we might need to look at the market and see things that we are still interested in that has some need.

Of course there is still a chance we could get those elusive jobs that we’ve always wanted that don’t seem to have any openings, but it’s hard, and luck has a lot to do with it. It’s all odds. How long are we willing to try before doing something a little less attractive that will offer stability?

I feel the age drag on me. I’m getting tired. All this trying to attain these goals has weighed on my body.

Hopefully people start being more honest with young people about the working world, and hopefully the people put in positions to be advising actually know what they’re talking about. The world is in constant motion, and things have changed greatly in the past 20-30 years. Then you could have a BA and get a great job you liked. Now? Not so easy. Possible, sure. But older people look at you in your 20s, still slaving away at low-wage jobs, and think something’s wrong with you, or that you’ve failed. Some of them still don’t understand that things have changed.

Which is ridiculous. Things always change. That’s what we need to accept and react to.

justinlouislabelle:

Ottawa, 2014
An oldie but a goodie, it was cropped and in B&W for a book my friend and I made a year ago. 

justinlouislabelle:

Ottawa, 2014

An oldie but a goodie, it was cropped and in B&W for a book my friend and I made a year ago. 

Bias

Two days, two interviews. I was virtually the same person for both of them, with my usual demeanour, and similar responses to similar questions.

One didn’t go so well. One I had a job offer right away. So what’s the difference?

Sometimes little things tumble into full-fledged impressions, like the way someone interprets your facial expression or a question you ask. And different people react to you in different ways.

It kind of bothers me that employers can be so clueless about how to conduct job interviews. So much is based on things like interview small talk, which is only really applicable for that one situation and has no bearing on how well you can do your job. This makes even less sense for jobs where you work alone 90% of the time and have little-to-no contact with co-workers.

Does my ability to make an artificial connection with you over a few minutes really suggest that I will be good at this job? And vice versa?

I much prefer job-specific testing to old-fashioned interview techniques. Testing eliminates most biases the interviewer brings — testing doesn’t care what my clothes look like or how often I smile, for example.

The strange thing is that people tend to trust their biases more than quantitative test measures. It’s all conceit: we, on average, do not know better than statistics. We might get lucky a time or two, but generally, overriding testing (that is well-developed) is a losing practice.

While on this topic, there are some “standard” interview questions that are ridiculous. One is when they ask you about your biggest weakness or the like. How are you going to answer that? “My biggest weakness is that I have an addiction to cocaine and pornography.” No one says their actual biggest weakness, so they have to either (a) make something up or (b) give some non-weakness, like “I am an overachiever.” There are no correct answers to this question, only some that are less correct than others.

So why not just ask fair questions? Ask about relevant experience and examples of how the applicant would conduct particular work. Lay off the situational questions, and quit putting so much stock into off-the-cuff answers nervous people who need a job give. It doesn’t measure who the best candidate is, only who you, the interviewer, respond most positively to that day based on a myriad of stimuli, only a small percentage of which is actually related to the interviewee’s competency.

places I have visited

Before last summer the further east I had ever been was Chicago, twice. The farthest east was Montreal. I am not counting trips I cannot remember because I was a child.

The furthest south I’ve been is somewhere in Michigan and the furthest north before last summer was five hours northwest of Sudbury.

i. local (Vancouver Island)
ii. national
iii. international

i. Victoria: Sleep city, seems bigger in the summer but urban areas are heavily concentrated and there is a lot of separation, which I guess is part of the charm. It’s in a micro-climate so weather is unique for the area. No rain in the summer, lots of clouds and wind in the winter. Quiet suburbs on beautiful landscape.
Sooke: You can swim in the potholes but it’s cold. Houses in what are essentially woods.
Nanaimo: Haven’t seen enough of it to say to much other than that I have no particular feelings toward it.
Campbell River: Mid-island on the east side, the populated side, it has nice areas and is close enough to bigger things to not be too inconvenient. An interesting proposition.

ii. Kamloops: Desert town, wish I went thru Kelowna instead.
Jasper: Very pretty, as you’d expect.
Edmonton: Probably the ugliest big-ish city in the country. Car-heavy, nothing much going on, mostly decrepit downtown, with lots of money flowing into it.
Saskatoon: Can’t judge much, but seemed like a normal enough mid-sized city
Regina: I am not a huge fan of their road set up but there were nice enough parts in the downtown area.
Winnipeg: Pretty boulevards downtown, lots of pedestrian walkways. Seemed okay.
Kenora: Infested with deer, which I wish more places were. Close to the US and Manitoba.
Thunder Bay: Unbelievably far from everything else in Northern Ontario. Didn’t stand out too much other than that Lake Superior makes it sort of foggy and it’s more concrete than I would have thought.
Sudbury: Rock, rock everywhere. In contention for the ugliest city I have ever been.
North Bay: I’ve only passed thru but it didn’t seem too bad. The area a little bit before it, a couple hours past Pembroke, seems ripe for people infestation.
Ottawa: A nice city that doesn’t wow people overly but gets overlooked for its well-roundedness. It’s when Ontario starts getting pretty but likewise cold. One of my favourite things is the architecture and the character of various neighbourhoods. Lots of things worth seeing, and enough urban areas to offer variety.
Montreal: Architecture, streets, the whole layout is like a cyber-punk art show. There seems like a lot’s going on, but it it very cold. The metro is cool. Since I don’t speak French, I don’t think I would ever live there, unless I really committed to learning French. Still, I’m not sure if I’d want to live in Quebec, it’d be hard to feel comfortable.
Kingston: A bit too small for me.
Toronto: Multi-conglomerate, hyper-urban, concrete jungle New York wannabe. It’s growing on me, if only out of necessity (more job “opportunities”). Has a certain charm, I just need to get to know specific areas more. Kensington mark seems to have character.
London: Somewhat deteriorating city with not much notable about it. Its population has gotten to be a bigger mid-sized city but there aren’t many reasons to live there I don’t think.
Waterloo: Farms, which before I thought was awful, which I now think is really cool. High-tech too.
Guelph: Virtually indistinguishable from Waterloo.
Cambridge: Same answer.
Windsor: Was sucking off Detroit’s teet when the shit collapsed. Slowly improving its general feel, still decrepit and miniature Detroit. Reasonably good weather but pollution-heavy.

iii. Detroit: The story’s out now, but even before the economic collapse the collapse already looked like it went thru Detroit. I have not been since the shit really hit the fan, so I can only imagine at this point.
Gary (Indiana): I heard Letterman jokes about it back when I was fourteen without cable and Letterman was one of four or five options. It is probably the most collapsed city I have ever seen, like an apocalyptic Windsor.
Chicago: The train was scarier than I thought a train would be, maybe I wish in a rough area or something but there was tension and outbursts and I was a bit uncomfortable. A lot of people forcefully asked me for money, not like other places I have been where people are relatively passive about the whole thing. Poverty was all too evident. But, the architecture is obviously excellent. The concreteness has a creativity to it.

Report on Day 2 of Roger’s Cup

I had a feeling that Genie would lose. There was a lot of pressure on her playing in Montreal in her true “breakout” season. She has played well in the largest tournaments but has lacked consistency at the other levels. It’s still kind of deflating for the whole feel of the tournament.

The young player who Radwanska beat played a gritty game and was enjoyable to watch. I think I heard the announcers say she is 17. She was a bit over the top at times (throwing racquets, making faces, aggressive shouting) but I appreciate her mentally because realistically she could’ve been blown out and no one would’ve blinked. It’s tough when you go up against the fourth best player in the world and she made it a game.

Kygrios is pretty fun to watch. The announcers are really tough on him and calling him immature basically because he does things like spin his racquet before serving, but tennis is entertainment. Who cares what his pre-serve rituals are, Nadal fucking rubs both sides of his face before every serve which frankly bugs the hell out of me. It doesn’t make him immature.

What a shitty day for Canadian tennis. A lot of hype, a lot of falter. The thing is it all pretty much went as expected minus Genie, and Dubois played quite the game. It just seems like for the first time the media talks about tennis and the Canadians all picked the day to lose.

I hope TSN starts to actually hire tennis people and send them to grand slams and maybe even some other tournaments now that they aren’t showing much hockey and tennis is a growing sport. I’d like to see them get behind it. Most of the clowns on the Sportsnet broadcast (what the hell is Damien Cox doing there?) don’t seem to know very much other than big names and general broadcasting cliches: there is very little in the way of analysis. One of the commentating teams were saying how Indian Wells (a tournament roughly the same level as Roger’s Cup) has a rich owner who made sure all the courts have hawkeye and he makes the prize pool bigger but then it was as if someone yelled in their ear and they blurted out “but Roger’s does a great job with it” “oh yes of course fantastic.”

Genie’s growing a bit of an attitude and it’s not exactly endearing. Nothing wrong with confidence but I’ve been getting a more of an odd vibe from her since she has gotten famous. I guess that much attention and almost uniformly positive will do that to a person 9 times out of 10, but I tend to hope that every person will be that 10%.

places to go

Today I made a list of places I would like to visit. They can be broken up as follows:

i. semi-local (Vancouver Island)ii. national (Canada)
iii. continental (mainly U.S.)
iv. international

Google Maps is wonderful because you can save all the locations you want to visit, places you have been, and dream away.

i. Tofino/Ucluelet: western coast of the island, looking into True Pacific Ocean, not a strait directly attached to the ocean. I’m not sure how much different it will look, but the Idea attracts me.
- Port Hardy: northern most community on the island, I like edges. Edges of the world.
- Quadra Island: across from Campbell River. Quadra discovered this whole area with George Vancouver but somehow got fucked over and just this little barely inhabited island named after him. The street Quadra is a more major street than Vancouver in Victoria, as consolation. It has a poor reputation though.
Shawinigan Lake: I don’t what it is that interests me, but it’s close enough to the city but pretty far and not much is located not on the coast of the island.
Pender Island: second biggest southern gulf island.

ii. Calgary: Been to every other major city west of Quebec. Not a huge draw but it’s something to see.
Vancouver: Just joking, still haven’t been here. But soon. Somehow avoided on the way to the island. I hear a prettier Toronto.
Kelowna: Okanagan valley. I’ll look Penticton here too. Hear it’s pretty, went thru Kamloops which I thought would be comparable but it was a desert and ugly.
Banff: Tourist tourist but seems like a truly Canadian place to go. Scared of heights.
Halifax: The East Coast major city centre, seems like a place to visit. Theoretically I prefer the West Coast.
Charlottetown: Theoretically I like islands, once you get over the separation anxiety.

iii Port Angeles: So so close, will make it there soon. Sounds pretty and can probably buy pot legally, which I’m looking forward to.
Seattle: Big rainy city. Not too exciting sounding, I guess something grunge might exist. Nirvana impacted my pubescent years.
Portland: If it’s anything like Portlandia might never come back. Reminds me of a mixture of Vancouver and Victoria.
San Francisco: Hyper-tourism, but must check out City Lights and imagine Howl spewing thru the building. Ferlinghetti is still alive somehow. The bridge (designed by Sarannen or something?) would be cool.
Los Angeles: Not super interested but huge cities are interesting.
Tijuana (Mexico): Not interested at all but if in LA seems worth it just to “go to Mexico”.
New York City: Haven’t been here yet and of course it can never live up to arts and culture representations. I have watched every episode of Seinfeld at least a dozen times.
Philadelphia: Is it famous for poetry? Would like to check out Mac’s Bar, hopefully it looks like It’s Always Sunny.
New Orleans: Seems like an original place. If going to travel it’s nice to see unique places, I think.
Alaska: This is more like B.C. than the U.S. but seems worthwhile to see.
Hawaii: I barely count this as U.S. but if I had to go to a “tropical island” type place it’d be here, even if it doesn’t quite qualify.

iv. Reykjavik: There I go with islands again. I believe the ‘youngest” country in the world. A different sort of place.
New Zealand: See Iceland, but possibly more remote yet more similar culture. If I had to live in another country it’d probably be here.
Ireland: Seems like a friendly place, fun.
UK: Mainly London (I hear it’s overcrowded and not worth it) but possibly other places. Lots of history, especially literary.
Rome: Cultural history.
Paris: Hear it’s nice even though hyper-tourist, obviously. Would like to see the art.
Athens: Cultural history even older.
Amsterdam: I’m not a big party person but would like to see red light district, the ‘cafes’, etc. Nice liberal place, bikes.
Belgium: It’s in the area.
Oslo: Nordic seems interested.
Stockholm: Know little but seems nice.
Helsinki: It’s a cool name.
Switzerland: Looked it up on Maps and it looks quite pretty with nicer architecture than I would’ve thought.
Berlin: Seems worth seeing.
Warsaw: Some Polish heritage I have so if I am noting 100 other places it should make the cut.
Prague: I used to work with a guy who emigrated from Eastern Europe and he said Prague is the nicest city in the whole continent.
Denmark: If in the area.
Madrid: Seems necessary.
Lisbon: Seen some pictures and it looks quite interesting even though old somewhat crumbling architecture that’s very cyberpunk. Seems like an affordable place to live if it ever comes to it.
Cairo: History.
Jerusalem: History.
Mumbai: Crowded, very different from most other places I would like to see.


Next up: Places I have visited (a much shorter list).

I would like to write more about things I don’t need to go back and edit up to snuff; I would like to spill cognitions onto digital blog for my own archive and if users stumble upon, fine. If I would like to write more, I need to do it, and some sort of easy regularity, i.e. blog, helps. There is always the option to turn ramblings into something more coherent at a later stage, use in a ‘real’ publication, though not re-publish in any recognizable form in any kind of periodical outlet or anything where I am not the sole author (no one wants re-cycled, re-used ‘work’).

I have a lot on my mind that escapes somewhere between short-term memory and long-term storage. My brain is so full of facts facts and impressions I interact with I can’t possibly expand on them all. But I can latch onto a few, and take a little trip with them. See where they go. Structure is noxious but some is necessary.

What do I like: literature, the act of writing itself, philosophy, ‘art’, (theoretical) (meta)physics, cities, watered-down politics, light travel, neighbourhoods, walking, water, sports (their own little universes with predictable rules and outcomes), games (etc.), music, tv, architecture, conversation. Ideas. All these come to mind and probably much more.

Unmown lawns, decrepit shacks, gravel roads skidded down by trucks & ATVs. Tourists drink around bonfires in the bush a short walk away, cajoling about the town. No signs & littered with stars & stripes, logs pile up on stone driveways. More people abandon their houses than don’t up here; it’s the way we live. We survive.

Been on a ritalin trip for weeks trying to focus on something for more than 15 minutes at a time. I’m not famous and never will be for any amount of time. I measure successes in how many days i can go without coffee. I never know what day it is. The sun shines or doesn’t shine all the same. Wake me from this sleepwalk. I’m not sure if this is a nightmare.

Interests

Do our interests change as we age? Do they develop? Here are a list of things i think i’ve been interested in for over half my life:

- writing
- music
- reading
- psychology/emotions
- helping people
- playing sports
- animals

Similarly, here are things i’ve been interested in intermittently or interests that have started over the past few years:

- the brain
- hockey (watching and analyzing)
- poker (and some other card games)
- visual art / art history
- architecture
- philosophy
- urban areas / the environment
- drugs, including caffeine & alcohol
- farming
- law
- death / dying


Of course, the next question for those of us who haven’t solidified a life is how to make a career, or at least a lifestyle, using things we have interest in. New interests can arise and shouldn’t be discounted, but when looking into education and applying for jobs, it’s probably a better idea to focus on known interests (speaking from experience).

How do i channel, or combine, interests in a magic formula that equates to happiness? How can i survive?

Am i a product of my surroundings? Will moving apartments, cities, change my perspective of the world, the world’s perspective of me?

I hang from the roof of my building, awaiting a hand to reach down. The simplest solution, the only one on which i can count, might be to pull myself up.

And that’s why they call it ‘gambling’

Woke up with two ladies in my pocket in the midst of the miracle 1 cent comeback. Qualified for a 3K guaranteed, free entry based on winning a hyper-turbo that only cost frequent player points. This is my last shot so i’m playing tight. I am not trying to make the final table, just to cash, to give myself another few bullets, buy a little time.

I am not trying to get rich only to entertain myself. I never risk my shirt. But I woke up with pocket ladies & was a slightly short stack, and some asshole raised under the gun 3x the big blind. It wasn’t a turbo, blinds still only 15/30. I re-raise all-in, expecting a fold.

I should have been patient. I should pay closer to attention to how the table plays out, but I am impatient, and I am bored. If I’m not screening 4-5 tables, I am watching tv while playing, or reading, or dicking around on the internet in some other way so i’m not even paying half-attention to what’s going on. I should combine all my resources when it’s my last bullet to shoot, but I didn’t. I didn’t know how this guy was playing, and if his standard blind-raise gave an indication of what he might have.

I re-raise all in, and he calls. Pocket kings. Fuck. All my chips in the middle, queens vs kings. Heavy underdog. Nothing out of the ordinary happens on the flop, turn or river. I am out of the free chance to win money. My account is busted, kings over queens.


one of the best things i’ve ever seen

I am always one card away from flopping the nuts or turning a flush or rivering the undercard to make it three of a kind & i lose more flips than not or pick the wrong place to raise or re-raise to catch off guard when i’m beat i’m beat i’m beat staring at my hole cards how can i be beat woke up to bullets sweating away under the gun but i’m beat by 2-7 runner runner turned & rivered me five spots before the pay

Searching for a way to make money without compromising my life. The world, thru a magnifying glass, is tinted with smut & shit. Under my nails is broken glass from clawing at the windows of various mansions i pass on my way to the park. I don’t want to be a corporate slave. I don’t want to worry about how my next meal will arrive. Where is the balance?

I embrace art. How do i survive?